Regulation

Editor's picks

New commitments for water companies, Ofwat and the Environment Agency to increase transparency and reduce the reliance on storm overflows have been made in response to Philip Dunne's Sewage (Inland Waters) Bill. Utility Week speaks to the chair of the Environmental Audit Committee.
News
Energy companies paid out almost £49 million in penalties and redress in 2019/20, more than the previous three years combined, Ofgem’s Enforcement Decision Panel (EDP) has revealed.
News
The government should widen the utility regulators’ toolkit beyond price controls, the CBI has told Rishi Sunak. In its submission to the chancellor of the exchequer ahead of the Budget on 3 March, the business body says the use of price controls “can lead to underinvestment and may not deliver price stability for consumers in the longer term”.
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Featured

Utility Week speaks to UK Power Networks chief executive Basil Scarsella, Electricity North West chief executive Peter Emery and Northern Powergrid policy and markets director Patrick Erwin about Ofgem’s sector-specific methodology decision for RIIO ED2.
News
As companies across the utilities sector anxiously await the Competition & Markets Authority (CMA)’s final decision on the PR19 appeals, Maxine Frerk looks at how the watchdog operates and asks whether it is still fit for purpose.
Opinion
Even veterans of regulated companies can make simple errors in navigating the price control process. Simon Oates, director at Fingleton, sets out some fundamental steps to getting the best out of price reviews.
Opinion

Latest in Regulation

The Independent System Operator proposed by Ofgem should form part of a National Energy Agency tasked with overseeing the wider transition to net zero emissions, a senior figure at KPMG has argued. Simon Virley, a partner at the firm and its head of energy and natural resources, said there are “plenty of precedents” for such an agency, both in Britain and overseas.
News
Ofgem has recommended the full separation of the electricity system operator (ESO) from the National Grid. Following a review, the regulator concluded that key gas network planning functions should also be hived off, to create a new independent energy system operator.
News
Gas networks in Great Britain have released a joint plan for their conversion to deliver hydrogen over the coming years. The roadmap includes proposals to begin blending hydrogen into the gas grid at rates of up 20 per cent from 2023, create the first hydrogen neighbourhood by 2025 and the first hydrogen village and then town by the end of the decade, supported by 5GW of production capacity. Utility Week speaks to the Energy Networks Association's head of gas Matt Hindle about the next steps.
News
Code administrator Elexon has been selected by Ofgem as the senior responsible owner (SRO) for the implementation of Market-wide Half Hourly Settlement (MHHS). Previous proposals had Ofgem as both programme sponsor and SRO. However in a consultation document the energy regulator unveiled plans to place responsibility for management and delivery of the programme with industry, with Elexon acting as SRO.
News
Investors have rallied in response to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA)’s revised approach to the cost of capital in the PR19 appeals. Infrastructure investment groups warned of long-term repercussions of the CMA’s change of tack, with one suggesting it brought the water sector “perilously close to the edge” of not being attractive to investors. Meanwhile, Ofwat warned the CMA that arguments are “likely to have been from investors that seek to protect their existing valuations” rather than concern for future investment.
News
Ofgem has given preliminary approval to a modification to the Uniform Network Code that would reintroduce the short-haul discount that was removed as part of the revamp of gas transmission charges which took effect at the beginning of October. UNC728B would provide a discount of between 10 per cent and 90 per cent on gas transmission charges for users connected within 28 kilometres of an entry point to discourage them from constructing their own pipelines to bypass the network.
News
The Court of Appeal has upheld the government’s decision to grant planning permission to Drax to convert two of the coal units at its power station in North Yorkshire into combined-cycle gas turbines. The judgement is the outcome of an appeal by the environmental law firm Client Earth, which had already lost one legal challenge in the High Court against the decision by the secretary of state for energy to grant a development consent order in 2019.
News
Ovo Energy received more complaints per 100,000 customers than any other supplier in the energy sector's latest scorecard by the UK Regulators Networks (UKRN). Average customer satisfaction scores for the wider energy retail sector during the second half of 2020 rose two percentage points compared to the same period in 2019.
News
As companies across the utilities sector anxiously await the Competition & Markets Authority (CMA)’s final decision on the PR19 appeals, Maxine Frerk looks at how the watchdog operates and asks whether it is still fit for purpose.
Opinion
National Grid Electricity System Operator has published an open letter giving an update on its plans for implementing the Trans European Replacement Reserves Exchange (TERRE) within Great Britain. It comes after Ofgem ordered the ESO to create a new implementation plan and workgroup for the project in November following multiple derogations to the go-live date, which was originally scheduled for January 2020.
News
Octopus Renewables has raised concerns over Ofgem’s ongoing review of forward-looking network charges and the regulator’s apparent desire to expose more distributed generators to transmission fees. Investment director David Bird said ending the exemption for embedded generators would undermine the viability of onshore wind projects in Scotland and the north of England and slow progress towards reaching net zero emissions.
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